where did joy go?

Where did joy go?
Muffle your laughter; let your tears fall silently.
Let silence fill the world even if just for a moment.
This is not a time for joy,
This is a time to be struck by the miracle of living and despair at the cruelty of Death.

IMG_1769My dear friend’s daughter is just like mother: she has much grace and strength.   I can only trust that she and her husband have sufficient of both to bear this eviscerating blow: the death of their beloved Emily Rose.  Just 3 months and already showing she had inherited much those same traits through her mother and her grandmother, my friend.

Not for them the joy of their wee bairn flourishing within the circle of their love.  For them, the harrowing pain of watching Emily’s peers growing and thriving on the love of their families.  What, were there nine of them lined up on the couch?  Most of them there with parents to farewell that beautiful baby who was yet to become a child.   Their combined grief was harrowing.

I cannot imagine that this overwhelming pain they are feeling is in anyway comparable to what I have experienced, my loses pale into insignificance: they are a young couple without their first child, completely in love and loving.

I have no more words . . . please don’t comfort with talk of your god needing another angel . . . no god needed that baby more than her parents . . . I don’t believe in that god.   It makes no sense: it is not right.

From Emily Rose’s service, the words of Michael Leunig’s poem, When the Heart . . .

When the heart
Is cut or cracked or broken,
Do not clutch it;
Let the wound lie open.
Let the wind
From the good old sea blow in
To bathe the wound with salt,
And let it sting.
Let a stray dog lick it,
Let a bird lean in the hole and sing
A simple song like a tiny bell,
And let it ring.

And yes, I went straight from that sad, sad funeral to my son’s to cuddle my granddaughters, to hold that family tight and feel blessed.

friday and EDM #8 & #10

I love Friday morning.  It’s when I get to pack up a few bits and pieces and head home after work to the beach where I’ll stay until Monday morning – bliss.

Settling back into another term’s of work has been . . . what?  Difficult? Not really. Discomforting? Perhaps. The trains run by the house about 100 metres away and after 2 weeks with just the sound of the surf to lull me to sleep, I haven’t slept at all well – a horrible headache was the result.  I forgot to bring paints in any form with me so it’s been a bit of a colourless week.  I forgot to bring the lead for my camera as well and sometimes the iPhone just doesn’t do a great enough job.   I feel a little like a nomad packing up and moving from a place I love to a place that is lovely – and would be wonderful without the trains!  How many people can look over their back fence and see sheep and deer grazing?

PLEASE IMAGINE A PHOTO HERE OF SHEEP GRAZING JUST OVER THE BACK FENCE AND DEER IN THE BACKGROUND – I’LL POST THE PHOTO TONIGHT – PROMISE!

But hang on, none of those petty complaints have anything to do with work!  Yes work is a little like pushing water uphill with a rake sometimes but I really enjoy it – and the people I work with are wonderful.

Get a grip Wendy!  Stop complaining!  I have choices.  Life is fantastic – I’m privileged to be where I am and to have the opportunities I do!  Discomforting – out of my usual state of being comfortable.  I’m just temporarily disgruntled – not unhappy, not on a downer, just in need of a little peace and perspective, and sadly, because I love this little abode, maybe a new place to stay during the week.

And now,  back to Danny Gregory’s challenge Every Day Matters!   EDM #8: Draw your watch. And #10: Draw your hand.  I’m really enjoying drawing from life – it’s not something that I’ve ever taken seriously.   And no, I’m not doing them in order but if you knew me you wouldn’t have that expectation!

EDM #8 & #10.

The birds are singing and it’s Friday – look out beach –  (after work) here I come!

evaluate where you are

I’m feeling a somewhat pensive today . . . it’s my friend Kathy’s birthday.    She lives in Cincinnati and I live in New Zealand and this time last year I was able to celebrate with her.  I missed a whole month of winter and spent the time in the company of some of the best friends I have ever had.   Another of my friends turned 60 earlier in the year so some of us met up in Chicago to celebrate.

We all met working at the same international school in Bangkok, all of a similar age, all on our own, all looking for adventure.   We travelled together in small groups thither and yon, soaking up the sights and cultures of the world, delighting in the food and doing our best to support village economies by buying local art and craft.

Several of us lived in the same building – it was a 12-story hotel of serviced apartments.  We had a lounge and restaurant downstairs, room service, and small shop, pool, gym and best of all, a housemaid who came in once a week and did the cleaning, changed our bed linen and made sure everything was in order.  Imagine that, no housework for almost 6 years!

There was a mall 10 minutes walk away where there was a variety of restaurants, 4 floors of shops, picture theatres, a supermarket – every material thing we could possibly want.  Best of all was a team of well-trained masseuse who for a ridiculously small fee would give the most bliss-inducing foot-massage you can possibly imagine.

All of that and joys international travel and of living in Bangkok!   Did we know how fortunate we were?  Did we truly appreciate our relative wealth?  Absolutely!   There is not one of us who doesn’t appreciate that our privileged position is merely an accident of birth, a blessing so enormous . . . and yet often undervalued by so many.

If you are reading this, you too have a position of privilege – you have a computer, electricity, running water, a flushing toilet, you can read!   If it’s winter you’ll be warm tonight and go to bed with a full stomach.  You probably have access to health services, a car, and think little of it – you may think of it as your right.

Maybe you complain about maintaining what you have, a lack of money, how expensive everything is becoming, and have a whole raft of minor complaints about your weight or whatever.  Just remember, if you have friends, you are privileged and you have choices – most of what you have and do is by choice.

Evaluate your life according to the criteria in this short 6-minute YouTube clip by Zig Ziglar – Evaluate Your Life.  I’m extremely content . . . are you?  I hope so.

My little corner of paradise on a winter’s day.